Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Tadae Takubo

【#1082】Kishida Conveys No Sense of Crisis

Tadae Takubo / 2023.10.25 (Wed)

October 23, 2023

I think it is necessary to correctly understand that this is a case where Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist organization that effectively controls the Gaza Strip, carried out a large-scale, sneak attack on the democratic state of Israel.

Iran, China and Russia behind Hamas

After a U.S. newspaper stunned the world by reporting the day after the attack that Hamas had consulted with Iran in advance and received Iran’s approval, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, “We’ve said since the beginning that Iran is complicit in a broad sense,” indicating that Iran is naturally suspected as being involved in the attack. Sullivan added: “They (Iranians) have provided the funding for the military wing of Hamas, they’ve provided training, they have provided capabilities.” Since how Iran was exactly involved in this attack is unknown, he would reveal it as soon as he learns of it, Sullivan told reporters.

This may be true. The United States had obtained intelligence about Russia’s imminent invasion of Ukraine and conveyed it to the Ukrainian side. But President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders reportedly did not believe it. Sullivan’s remarks show that the U.S. was not aware of any plan about the Hamas attack this time. The world-renowned Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, was not helpful, either. These facts suggest a disastrous failure of the entire Western intelligence community.

In an unwitting prelude to the Hamas attack, the U.S. Foreign Affairs magazine in its web edition a month ago published an essay titled “Iran’s New Patrons.” Two experts detailed how Iran pursued its acquisition of nuclear weapons as a national goal after the Khomeini Revolution, leading to its international isolation that encouraged China and Russia to become Iran’s de facto patrons. The world picture looms where Iran manipulates Hamas and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah with China and Russia staying behind.

Possible escalation into a world war

The situation is becoming increasingly serious as the conflict in Gaza could escalate into a global war. The U.S., which remains at the center of the West, is in a position to calm down the conflict and prevent new dangers. While the Pentagon has already sent one aircraft carrier to the waters nearby and decided to send another, there is no sign of Washington dispatching ground combat troops as is the case with the Ukraine war. Given the inward-looking U.S. public opinion that is critical even of arms aid to Ukraine, the best the U.S. could do may be providing deterrence from the sea and the air.

The U.S. is experiencing division in many areas, including race, income, and politics. While confrontation between Democrats and Republicans has intensified, a tussle among Republicans has led to the dismissal of a Republican House speaker, leaving the speaker’s seat vacant. Congressional approval of additional aid to Ukraine remains up in the air.

Since the Hamas attack, Japan’s position has not been quite clear. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, in a video message to an international conference in Tokyo on October 21, only said, “Amid changes in the balance of power and intensifying geopolitical competition, various issues are piling up, creating a complex crisis.” He conveyed no sense of crisis. The message concluded by saying, “Japan and the U.S. must demonstrate coordinated leadership.” Such statement is not worthy of comment.

Tadae Takubo is Vice President, Japan Institute for National Fundamentals, and a professor emeritus at Kyorin University.